» Thursday, September 10, 2009


The Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) began by saying that the Prime Minister would be chairing the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Afghanistan and Pakistan (known as NSID – Ministerial Committee for National Security, International Relations and Development – Sub-Committee Afghanistan/Pakistan) to drive forward progress in delivering the Government’s strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan as set out in April.

The Prime Minister chaired this committee, which was also attended by the Foreign Secretary, Chancellor, Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of State for International Development, Home Secretary, and Secretary of State for Business. Other Ministers, as well as the Chief of the Defence Staff and other Chiefs, as well as Heads of the Intelligence Agencies, also attended as required. This Committee met regularly over the summer.

Asked for the Prime Minister s reaction to William Hague s article this morning, the PMS said it was an achievement that elections had taken place and that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) had been extremely important in the process. The most important thing was that the Afghans had a credible and effective government that reflected the will of the people. The Prime Minister strongly believed that corruption was a serious issue in Afghanistan and so it was important to build up the local police and army more generally. The IEC had excluded the votes from six hundred and ninety-seven polling stations. The ECC had issued an order for the IEC to conduct an order and recount of suspect ballot boxes. There had been specific actions on the ground to deal with the situation.

Asked if the Government would endorse a claimed result before independent UN-backed bodies had made their full report, the PMS said that the Government would continue to monitor the process as it was important that the process was completed and that when the result was announced everyone was comfortable with it.

Asked if the NSID was a war cabinet and if it would discuss accelerating progress in Afghanistan, the PMS said it was not a War Cabinet, but that it was an important sub-committee of Cabinet as senior members of the armed forces attended. The agenda was broadly looking at the strategy in Afghanistan.

Asked at what time the meeting would take place and whether it would be before or after the telephone call with President Obama, the PMS said the meeting would be in the afternoon, after the telephone call with President Obama.

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about polling appearing to show a decline in public support for the conflict in Afghanistan, the PMS said the Prime Minister set out the Government s clear aims for the war in Afghanistan last week. The Prime Minister was focused on ensuring the goals were delivered and communicated.

The Prime Minister believed that by setting out his strategy people would understand what the Government was trying to achieve and the difficulty and importance of getting this right.

Put that although the Government had confidence in the bodies on the ground, the candidates did not, the PMS said that the bodies were well-constituted and well-run. Their work had shown that the process was credible. It was important for the Government to give the bodies the support they needed.

Put that the process was not legitimate if ten per cent of polling stations had been excluded, the PMS said that it was important irregularities were discovered to achieve a Government that was properly constituted.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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